You got a card.

“You got a card,” said my boss on her rounds about the office as she tossed a small pink envelope with no return address on my desk at lunchtime. Busy working through the hour on a frustrating case, I could have easily lost it amid the tsunami of scattered papers I call my desk.
By the time I was finished, I’d added another wave of debris to the stack but the little pink corner peeked out among the mess as if it had climbed itself to the top not to go unnoticed. I grabbed it with my left and gulped a sip of cold coffee with my right.
Nobody sends me cards here. A pink one at that.
It being just a few days from Valentine’s Day, I sniffed it for perfume but it smelled just like a card, so tossed it back and went to lunch.
The day had been merciless at our little non-profit that helps people stay housed, fed and plugged in to utilities at critical times of their lives when nobody else cares. Much of my morning had been spent on such a case, but I returned from the sandwich shop with a ham and cheese and what I thought might be a solution.
As usual, a dozen more urgent memos had made their way onto my desk during that half hour away but the corner of that same pink envelope had again risen up like a phoenix as if begging to be opened. I notice things like that. My desk is always a fire hazard but I keep snapshots of it in my mind for times like this and I knew the card was no longer buried where I had left it just 30 minutes earlier.
No return address, I opened it, finding a note inscribed:
“I just want to thank you for all that you do for me. I don’t seem to find the time to say it enough but I will always remember this day.”
That was it. No salutation. No signature. No return address. Nothing.
I held the card and eased back in my chair like Sherlock Holmes, attempting to recognize the penmanship or some other mark that might reveal the sender’s identity, but no cigar.
It was at that moment I became infected.
So many names, cases and contacts I have made in this job over the years. I suppose it could have come from any one of them, or all of them for that matter. I let my mind sort through the rolodex of memories and in doing so, I smiled, realizing the absolute brilliance of this one anonymous pink author.
He or she wasn’t satisfied with just paying it forward as so many are noticed these days. Buying someone’s coffee or meal, pitching in a buck when someone comes up short at the checkout…all wonderful displays of a caring humanity, but the power held in this tiny, pink, anonymous card trumped them all.
Its anonymity had the power to change the world, or at least one person’s perspective of it.
For the remainder of the day, while doing my work, I calculated so many names and faces of possible senders and individual reasons for their thankfulness. It could have been pretty much any one of them. By 6pm when I walked out of my office for home, the experience had changed me.
The cluelessness of that little lunchtime mystery had put a smile on my face that stayed there in the background all afternoon.
That brilliant anonymous author of the pink envelope never meant to be known.
They meant to be Anyone or Everyone.
I tucked the pink card from Anyone in the corner of my bulletin board, turned out my light, and said goodbye to everyone.
It was a lovely ending to a difficult week.
And I started the weekend with a smile and a stop at the store to pick up my own blank little pink card and a postage stamp.